27 May 2006


Billmon is on top of the latest atrocity by US soldiers.
Executing helpless women and children while they're huddled on the floor, praying to their God, is a war crime committed by terrorists. It's Lidice and Rwanda and Srebrenica and, of course, My Lai. The men who committed this crime aren't really human any more -- they shed their humanity like a snake sheds its skin when they walked into those houses and started shooting. All that's left of them is a dark pit at the center of their reptilian brain stems, a place that knows no pity or remorse or even self-awareness. They're lost souls -- lost to the world and to themselves.

I don't know if it's better or worse that this atrocity seems to have been committed by a military unit completely out of control, instead of one that was following orders, as was clearly the case at Abu Ghraib ....

I know that many war hawks respond to this with some “you can't make an omlette” talk about what it takes to fight a war, and how this kind of public scrutiny is traitorously unfair to Our Brave Soldiers and makes their job harder. Phil Agre forsaw the importance of this point.
(2) Because the fighting is all on television, the fine details of the fighting become political matters. Soldiers complain bitterly about politicians' interference, not understanding that technology has eliminated their zone of professional autonomy. The politicians are *right* to be interfering.

(3) The US military thought that the Republicans would save them from the Democrats' boundary-breaching conceptions of the 21st century world, but Donald Rumsfeld's abortive reform efforts -- which are really attempts to transpose the traditionally narrow view of military affairs into a science-fiction key -- have only clarified how archaic the traditional conception of warfare really is.

I note that Agre was writing four days after 9/11.

1 comment:

Hecate said...

And the politicians who do point out these atrocities get smeared, as well. I know that all wars are terrible, but the macho posturing of the current resident of the WH has only made incidents such as these more likely to happen. In our name, with our tax dollars. It's truly shameful.